Beware the false cognate!


Cognates are words that come from the same Greek or Latin root and resemble each other in English and Spanish. For example, in English, “insect” is very much like “insecto” in Spanish. And “drama” in English is “drama” in Spanish. Words like these cause no problems and, in fact, make it easier to learn Spanish. The trouble for native-English speakers who learn Spanish is words that sound alike in both English and Spanish, but have completely different meanings in English and Spanish. You have to be careful when translating from English to Spanish or vice versa. Some words require extreme caution when using! For example, if you feel embarrassed in English, do not say, “Estoy embarasada” because you are really saying, “I’m pregnant.” And then you’ll really be embarrassed! Another problem word is “molestar” that means “to annoy” or “to bother.” “No me molestes” means, “Don’t bother me.” However, if you confuse “molestar” with the English “to molest,” you are referring to a sexual crime punishable by imprisonment. ¡Tengan cuidado!

I'm just a little pregnant.

Published by

David Diego Rodríguez, Ph.D.

I write about whatever comes to mind. También enseño español y escribo acerca de los mexicanos y la enseñanza del español.